Al-Attabi joined the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures after receiving his PhD in comparative literature from Brown University. In addition to directing the Arabic program at Kenyon, he teaches language and literature classes.

Al-Attabi is a scholar of modern Arabic literature. His research spans the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the Arab Middle East, focusing on the intersection of politics and literary and cultural production. He is currently working on a book manuscript, tentatively titled “Commitment as Traveling Theory: Politics in Modern Arabic Literature,” which studies the dialectical relationship between aesthetics and politics in the Arabic literary discourse during the second half of the twentieth century. In addition, Al-Attabi is working on editing and translating into English a volume of colloquial Iraqi poetry.

Al-Attabi has translated three books into Arabic. His translation of George Yule’s textbook Pragmatics (Oxford University Press, 1996) appeared in 2010, and his forthcoming co-translation of A Companion to Translation Studies (Multilingual Matters, 2007) is currently in press. 

Al-Attabi is also a soccer historian, and he wrote two books (in Arabic) on soccer. His authoritative Buṭūlāt Kaʾs al-ʿĀlam bi-Kurat al-Qadam: al-Taʾrīkh al-Kāmil (World Cup: The Complete History) appeared in 2007 (second updated edition forthcoming in 2019).

Areas of Expertise

Modern Arabic literature; contemporary Iraqi literature; world literature; nationalism and literature; literary and cultural theory; and translation studies.

Education

2017 — Doctor of Philosophy from Brown University

2014 — Master of Arts from Brown University

2006 — Master of Arts from al-Mustansiriyya Univ, Irq

Courses Recently Taught

This is a continuation of the introduction to Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). Objectives of the course continue to be the development of skills in writing, reading, listening and speaking. There is increased emphasis on vocabulary and grammar. Classwork includes oral participation (speaking in class, both alone and in groups), active writing activities and exercises in listening and reading comprehension. Students are expected to use online and extracurricular resources (provided by the instructor) to improve their skills and complete assignments. Some elements of Arabic dialect will be introduced, but the focus will be on MSA. By the end of the second semester, students will understand basic grammatical concepts and communicate at a novice-high level. Prerequisite: ARBC 101Y or equivalent or permission of instructor. Offered every spring semester.

The main objective of the course is to develop speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) at the intermediate-novice level. Classwork includes reading comprehension activities, vocabulary building activities, giving presentations in Arabic, listening to authentic texts and guided class discussion in the target language. Students will conduct a research project using MSA as the medium for research and presentation. Students are expected to use online and extracurricular resources (some provided by the instructor) to help improve their skills and complete assignments outside of class. Prerequisite: ARBC 102Y or equivalent or permission of instructor. Offered every fall semester.

The main objective of the course is to develop speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) at the intermediate level. Classwork includes reading authentic texts, vocabulary building, presenting research in Arabic, listening to authentic media (such as news, films and television programs) and class discussion in the target language. Students are expected to use online and extracurricular resources to improve their skills and complete assignments outside of class. By the end of Intermediate Arabic II, students will be able to communicate at the intermediate level and will have the ability to recognize different genres of literature, read newspapers with the use of a dictionary and comprehend basic information from media resources without the use of a dictionary. Prerequisite: ARBC 201 or equivalent or permission of instructor. Offered every spring semester.

The main objective of the course is to develop speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) at the intermediate level. Classwork includes reading authentic texts, vocabulary building, presenting research in Arabic, listening to authentic media (such as news, films and television programs) and class discussion in the target language. Students are expected to use online and extracurricular resources to improve their skills and complete assignments outside of class. By the end of Intermediate Arabic II, students will be able to communicate at the intermediate level and will have the ability to recognize different genres of literature, read newspapers with the use of a dictionary and comprehend basic information from media resources without the use of a dictionary. Prerequisite: ARBC 213Y or equivalent or permission of instructor. Offered every spring semester.

This seminar introduces students to the modern Arabic novel. Students read major works of the modern Arabic canon that have been translated into English, paying particular attention to the social and political contexts in which they were written. We investigate the emergence and development of the modern novel in the Arab world, a vast geographic region that is religiously and culturally diverse yet connected by a common language and history. The course covers how the Arabic novel interacted with the emergence of modernity, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the colonial era and the post-independence era to see how contemporary history and politics have affected the aesthetics and form of the novel and, conversely, how writers have attempted (successfully or unsuccessfully) to keep literariness at the forefront of their writings. Students read works from Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. Class discussion is in English; all readings are in English translation. No prerequisite.

This course continues language study from advanced-intermediate level Arabic through advanced levels. The main objective of the course is to develop speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) at the advanced-intermediate to advanced level. Classwork includes reading authentic texts, building vocabulary, presenting research in Arabic, listening to authentic media (such as news, films and television programs) and class discussion in the target language. Students will conduct research using authentic Arabic texts and online materials. There also will be opportunities to study dialect in an informal setting. Students are expected to use online and extracurricular resources to help improve their skills and complete assignments outside of class. By the end of Advanced Arabic, students will be able to communicate at the advanced level as well as to recognize different genres of literature, read newspapers with the use of a dictionary, and comprehend basic information from media resources without the use of a dictionary. Prerequisite: ARBC 214Y or equivalent or permission of instructor. Offered every fall semester.

This course aims to develop the student's communicative skills in Arabic by focusing on speaking and interactions. Students practice using Arabic in real-life scenarios. The settings progress from using survival expressions (in situations such as losing a passport or being lost at the train station) to deploying argumentative discourse (in scenarios such as academic discussions about diversity and identity). Prerequisite: ARBC 214Y. Offered every other year.

This course introduces students to the theory and practice of translation. It is inspired by the Language Across the Curriculum approach and aims to allow the students of the discipline to extend their knowledge of Arabic, and study and research translation as both a field of study and a venue for practicing and improving their language skills. Sessions are designed primarily as practice workshops. Class is conducted in Arabic, and advanced knowledge of Arabic is required. Prerequisite: ARBC 321.